The Debate on Globalization, Poverty and Inequality: Why Measurement Matters

Ravallion, Martin

How many poor people are there in the world? This simple question is surprisingly difficult to answer at present. Building on earlier exercises going back to the late 1970s, the World Bank (henceforth Bank) has, beginning with the 1990 World Development Report (henceforth WDR) periodically presented comprehensive estimates of the extent of poverty in the world and in particular regions and countries for different years. These estimates have been widely accepted and employed in a range of policy analyses and assessments. They have been used to describe the world, to determine resource allocation priorities, and to judge which policies are most poverty reducing. More recently, they have played a central role in monitoring the first Millennium Development Goal, which calls for the halving of global poverty as defined by the Bank’s estimates.



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Initiative for Policy Dialogue
Initiative for Policy Dialogue
Initiative for Policy Dialogue Working Paper Series
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April 11, 2011